A student makes hundreds of pages of photocopies and takes them home, and the manual labor he exercises in doing so gives him the impression that he possesses the work. Owning the photocopies exempts the student from actually reading them. This sort of vertigo of accumulation, a neocapitalism of information, happens to many. Defend yourself from this trap: as soon as you have the photocopy, read it and annotate it immediately. If you are not in a great hurry, do not photocopy something new before you own (that is, before you have read and annotated) the previous set of photocopies. There are many things I do not know because I photocopied a text and then relaxed as if I had read it.
There's something about an adolescence spent online that's difficult to remember. There’s an embarrassment to dredging these things up. In general, the internet is so focused on the present that it’s difficult to recall what it looked like even a few years ago, a few months ago. It’s like remembering a dream, it doesn’t seem to have actually happened despite the fact that you experienced it.
Beyond that, culture doesn't provide imagery of “early memories” that account for the cyborg experience of being online. What are some of the cliches? Running around in nature, walking up the stairs of an old house, a first kiss—these are physical experiences, not virtual ones.
And yet here we are—“we” being people young enough to have had our social, psychological, sexual, cultural, etc., etc., development massively impacted by the internet and its associated technologies.
One of the contributing artists told me that working on this was like participating in group therapy.
“[When Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope] Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is, is we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.”